People Remember How We Treat Them

When a commercial falls under the category of obnoxious for me, what sticks in my mind is that no way will I buy the product being advertised. A few examples are a car insurance company that uses an emu in its commercials and a burger place that has a creepy fake king head.

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How I come across to people can affect whether they want to listen to me as I seek to share the love of Jesus. I am not talking so much about methods because with methods what appeals to some people will turn others off. I try to be aware of the person I am sharing with understanding of where they are coming from before being concerned about method. Though I must admit I have never been a big fan of gimmicky approaches.

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What I am talking about is how I treat people. People remember how we make them feel. People remember how we treat them. I want people to know that I am genuinely interested in them as a person, their lives, and how I can help even if being a friend is all I can do.

I am genuinely interested in the lives of my immigrant and refugee friends. It excites me when they achieve things in life. I love to celebrate with them. I want to be there for them in tough times. My friendship is there for them whether they want to listen to me about Jesus or not.

So today as I prepare to meet with my friend from Venezuela, I prayed for her and our time together. I am helping her prepare for the TOEFL test which is an English proficiency test for admittance into a university. While we study, there is laughter, and she knows she can ask questions. She was a dentist in Venezuela and wants to be one here. She will need to take the Dental Boards and complete two years of Dental College here. I want her to succeed.

Thank you for reading. God Bless..

Fall Break Is Over-I Reached My Goals

My short, very short, fall break is over. It is back to my morning and afternoon class. Even though the break was short, I did accomplish some goals. It helps to set attainable goals. 🙂

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I managed to take a nap every day as in power naps. I also slept later getting up at 8am instead of 6:30. I am well rested and ready for a four week run of busy days until Thanksgiving week.

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I made it to the coffee shop three out of four days. In so doing, I was also able to bless the staff with my brilliant jokes.

Yes, Spanish practice took place in person. Sunday evening I visited a family from Mexico and practiced Spanish over dinner. Homecooked Mexican food, friendship, and Spanish all in one wonderful evening.

The most important goal was spending time with Jesus. Having my mornings free allowed me to spend more time listening to worship music and praying.

So there you have it, My goals for my four day break were achieved, It is almost inspirational especially the naps. lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Realization

As I sit in the classroom at my church where I will meet with my friend from Venezuela, a realization hit me.

I really need a haircut and my beard trimmed. Now that I have a little time, I will get it done today after I meet my friend from Venezuela.

She was a pediatric dentist in Venezuela, but came here a few years ago. She wants to be a dentist here, so e are working on her English to help her be ready for the Dental Boards. I love helping people realize their dreams and it is also fun to give them homework.

She will walk in wearing a sweater and may even a jacket because it is currently 49f/9c. She will wonder why I am walking around in a short sleeve shirt and pants. 🙂

There is a hair place close to the coffee shop, so I imagine my van will decide to take me to the coffee shop at I get a haircut. Speaking of coffee, I consider myself a coffee purist as in I drink it black no cream or sugar and certainly none of that fancy stuff. My assistant in my morning class had a pumpkin spice the other day and added caramel creamer to it. I told her she has lost her privileges to be called a coffee drinker. Do you agree with me? lol

What are your Saturday plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Sunday Mornings

I love Sunday mornings because I love going to my church. It is the one morning that I actually interact with other Americans. Most of the week I am with refugees/immigrants which is my calling and passion, but it is nice to interact with others.

It is my habit to arrive a little early, so I can talk with people in the lobby. The teens I joke with about how fun homework is and if they need more to let me know. The police officer who provides security is fun to joke with. I am always mindful of those who are struggling to offer a word of encouragement or to pray for them.

The coffee area is a place that I visit every Sunday morning. I like to eat some fruit and have a cup of coffee and yes always black.

Then it is on to my classroom to meet with my friends from other countries. Currently it is small due to COVID, but it is fun nevertheless. I have friends from El Salvador and Venezuela who come. Sometimes we speak a bit of Spanish too. We end each class with praying for their friends and family back home.

Then it is time to be in the 2nd service. I love the music. Sometimes I just listen and pray. The pastor and I have a good rapport which makes listening to his teaching more meaningful to me.

After second service I go back to my empty classroom and get out my Chromebook. By spending some time online, it allows for the traffic to clear out before I head home and enjoy a Sunday afternoon nap. By nap I mean power nap.

I love Sundays. It is my favorite day of the week.

Do you have a favorite day?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Conversations Yesterday

Yesterday one of my friends took me to my Rheumatology appointment in Omaha. We had a good time of fellowship on the way there and back. It was such a nice day that as we were driving back we had the windows open. We came to a red light and I noticed some construction workers on my side of the car.

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They were Hispanic, so I greeted them in Spanish. They looked at me like they were wondering who the crazy old guy was in the car. One of them responded, so I decided to continue with:

Necesitas comer tamales hoy- You need to eat tamales today.

He told me their work required Mexican power. I answered with Verdad pero necesitas comer carne asada- Truth but you need to eat carne asada.

Before we drove off I told him- Dios te Bendiga- God Bless You.

At the clinic there is a coffee shop. Yes I always find the coffee shop. While I was waiting for my order, I saw a woman from India. I greeted her with Namaste, which surprised her a bit. We chatted for a minute while we were waiting.

It is fun to greet people in their languages, One of my hobbies is to learn greetings in other languages. I can only greet in 30 languages so far. Doing so shows I respect them. It also opens opportunities to share Jesus at times.

The appointment went well yesterday. They even gave me my COVID booster, but no sticker or lollipop. Is that ageism? lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Chinese Buffet and Practicing Spanish

August is here already. In only a few short weeks it will be Back to School time for the children. I will be at the school doing things to prepare, but my class begins the Tuesday after Labor Day. Are you ready for Back to School?

Yesterday after my Saturday morning group at church, I went to lunch with two friends from Cuba. We went to a Mongolian Grill/China Buffet. I like the Mongolian Grill because I can choose the ingredients and not worry about gluten in the soy sauce.

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It surprised my Cuban friends that I can eat with chopsticks. A person learns little things like that spending time with diverse cultures 🙂 During group at church, we spoke English, but during lunch it was all Spanish. I loved it. I enjoy practicing Spanish and learning new words.

At the end of our group time at church, we prayed for Cuba and for my friends’ families there. Cuba is in turmoil due to government crackdown against freedom protesters. It is the same reason I am trying to spend more time with my friends outside of group just to be a supportive listening ear.

Our server was someone who knew me. She is the niece of one of my former students from Guatemala. She has a good memory. She has only met me a few times but recognized me right away. The man cooking at the grill is from El Salvador. So I practiced Spanish with my server and the man at the grill.

Eating Chinese food and practicing Spanish is a wonderful combination. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

What A Difference 90 Miles Makes

I have a friend, fellow blogger, who lives in Florida. She and her family just completed an RV trip to California and came home with two new puppies. They are living a good life.

Sadly just 90 miles from Florida the scenario is horrifying. The Cuban government is killing and imprisoning freedom protestors.

90 miles from where I live are two small cities where the greatest concerns for the population as a whole are severe thunderstorms/possible tornados this time of year and whether the university football team will be successful this year.

90 miles from Florida hospitals are run down and dirty, people lack basic necessities, and a terribly oppressive government.

I have students and friends from Cuba living in my city. They have families in Cuba. They are worried about family and friends back in Cuba. Recent events underscore why so many were willing to risk 90 miles of sea in risky boats or whatever else they could use just to come to America when we had the one foot on dry land policy for people seeking asylum from Cuba.

All I can do is pray for my fellow Christians in Cuba for their faith to stay strong, pray for an end to the genocide being committed by the Cuban government against Freedom Protestors, and for peace in Cuba. The only other thing I can do is be a listening ear for my Cuban friends.

What a difference 90 miles makes.

Weekends with My Spanish Speaking Friends

It has been a wonderful blessing to have my weekend groups going again. I am starting small which is intentional on my part, so there is flexibility if the whole COVID situation changes. My groups have five friends who speak Spanish, two from Cuba and three from Mexico.

We have bonded quickly as a group. We have a lot of fun studying together and laughter fills in the room. They are people who normally would not be able to go to a class during the week due to work schedules, so being able to come Saturday and Sunday morning means a lot to them.

Yesterday we went out for lunch after our morning class. One would think it would have been at a Mexican restaurant, which would have been great for me, but they wanted burgers, so off we went to Red Robin and had burgers.

This morning after we practiced English for 45 minutes, I read a bible verse to them in English and then in Spanish. It is a verse from John 17 where Jesus tells God the Father that he wants us to be with him in heaven.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

“Padre, quiero que los que me has dado estén conmigo donde yo estoy. Que vean mi gloria, la gloria que me has dado porque me amaste desde antes de la creación del mundo”

Then I shared the music video What A Beautiful Name with them first in English and then in Spanish. They have asked me to remember to pray for them, which I happily do

I shared a closing thought with them that I want to share with you based on the verse in John 17. Jesus wants us, wants you in heaven with him for all eternity. It is the reason he came and died on the cross for us and defeated death for us. If we trust in him, have faith in him, he shares eternity with us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Back In The Game

What a weekend!!! It is as if my life is starting again. Saturday morning my Saturday morning English conversation group started again after a 14 month break due to COVID. Four Hispanic friends came, two from Cuba and two from Mexico. We did an intercambio, exchange, mostly of me helping them with English, but they also helped me with Spanish.

Saturday afternoon I hosted a retirement party at my church for my colleague for my morning class. We managed to surprise her. We had students from my morning class, my colleague’s family, people who she worked with at other schools, and people from the school my morning meets. We had SO much good food and a lot of fun.

This morning the same four Hispanic friends came again for my Sunday morning group. We did an intercambio again and also listened to some worship songs in Spanish, It was also the first Sunday morning I enjoyed worship service in person.

This afternoon I will try to catch up on blogging. The past week was so busy with finishing up my morning class. But what a weekend it was.

How was your weekend?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.